If you are facing federal criminal charges, it is critical that you retain an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer. Federal criminal law can be complex, and federal criminal procedures differ from Florida state court rules. The majority of Florida’s criminal defense attorneys practice primarily in state court. Consequently, they have little or no experience about federal criminal law and procedure. Therefore, you should retain a lawyer who has a solid understanding of federal criminal law and is board-certified in federal court practice.
Federal law enforcement agencies usually investigate crimes thoroughly before they ever reach a grand jury. If you receive a phone call or a “target of investigation” letter from the
U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or any other federal agency, you should avoid one-on-one contact with that agency and immediately call an experienced Tampa federal criminal defense lawyer. His advice during the investigation phase can benefit your case.
A seasoned federal criminal defense lawyer can explain to you the nature and purpose of the investigation and the reason why you are a subject of interest to the federal government. In most circumstances, he can be present when the authorities question you. Although your lawyer will advise you to answer the questions truthfully, there may be potential traps that he can help you avoid by maybe speaking for you to the investigating authorities or advising you to “take the Fifth.”
Plea or Defend
If a grand jury returns an indictment against you and the police show up at your home to search it and arrest you, it is imperative that you quickly hire a knowledgeable federal criminal defense attorney. In light of the evidence, your federal criminal defense lawyer can help you decide whether you should plea bargain or vigorously defend.
If the evidence weighs strongly against you, it may be in your best interests to cooperate with the federal government to reach an “Acceptance of Responsibility” agreement. This type of plea agreement can significantly reduce your prison sentence. An experienced federal criminal defense attorney will know how to work with federal agents and U.S. attorneys to obtain the most favorable plea agreement for you.
It is important to note that conviction rates are higher in federal court than in state court. In addition, a federal conviction carries consequences much more serious than a conviction of a similar crime in state court. Consequently, if you do decide to take your case to trial, you will need a federal criminal defense attorney with significant experience going up against U.S. attorneys in the courtroom.